There is the old saying.... "try walking a mile in my shoes."
You wanna know something? I don't need anyone to walk a mile in my shoes. Walking a mile in my shoes will not show you nor will it teach you anything about the "real" me. The Missy you cannot possible see. The Missy you cannot possibly know. The Missy you cannot possibly understand.
Neither my spouse nor some of my closest friends can see this Missy. There is only ONE person who will EVER see her.... that is my Heavenly Father. He gets me. He knows me. He has walked with me through every elating and tragic moment of my life and he was hiding in the corners with me when I was too scared to come out.
This. This is why I am FED UP with the world of continual and vocal judgement we live in.
That used to be me! Oh, yes it did! Though I did not see it or recognize it as judgement.... if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.... well.... you know the rest!!
What I failed to acknowledge was A) My own behaviors and character flaws that could be looked at and judged every day and B) I had absolutely NO CLUE where this person I was choosing to judge came from or is coming from.
Human behavior is a multi faceted thing. The big nature vs. nurture debate really need not be a debate at all. Our behavior is molded by every experience we encounter in our lives. Whether it just is part of our make up or it was an outcome of a life experience really doesn't matter. We are all unique individuals with many stories to tell and some stories get told through our reactions and behaviors.
You want to judge the mom that is yelling at her kids in the grocery store..... go ahead.... but what you cannot see is the fact that her utilities were just shut off, her abusive husband beat the tar out of her last night and she has absolutely no positive support in her life. She knows no different and no one has had the love and compassion to try and lead her in any different direction.... .all they have had to offer is their judgement.
You want to judge the mom who NEVER loses it with her kids! How she comes off as though life is a peach tree and she is the perfect Carol Brady? Go ahead..... but what you don't know is she was brought up in a home where emotions were never shared. You never showed anger, you never showed exhaustion, you must always be strong or persevere. What you don't see is her crying into her pillow every night because she does not think she can hold it together for her show... one more day.
You want to judge the mom who lets her kids do things you wouldn't let yours do. or perhaps allows them to get away with thing you would NEVER let your kids get away with. Go ahead.... but what you can't see is the pain and tragedy that has taken place behind closed doors in their home. How these parents may be a little less aggressive because they know personal things about their children and family you have no clue about. OR maybe, they were must raised differently than you. Perhaps your parents were drill sargeants that rarely allowed fun and made you tow the line so that is how you choose to parent. Either way.... it is simply not your concern.
So perhaps you feel compelled to judge the mom who never volunteers for extra activities or doesn't even bring a pan of brownies when they are needed. Go ahead.... judge away. But what you cannot see is this mom is barely keeping her head above water. She is having major marital issues and is struggling just to survive the day and keep her children going. Baking a pan of brownies seems as exhausting as running a marathon.
I can tell you personally that I am fully aware of my flaws as a mom, wife, woman and person in general. Though I need a reminder at times of things I could work on, I certainly do not need a world of judgemental eyes and voices surrounding me. There is typically no one harder on us..... than US.
Through the painful events of our lives in the past few years I have learned SOOO much about judging others. Aside from close friends and family, most people had NO clue what was going in our home. None. I had really bad days. So did my children. Would it perhaps changed a judgmental person's view to know the pain and heartache we were facing nearly every day in this house?
Maybe.... if they had a compassionate heart at all. Some people will never break away from judgement as their hearts are as hard as stone. It will take nothing short than the love of Christ to soften their cold and stone like heart
The bottom line is.... you have absolutely NO idea what drives another persons choices, behaviors, or actions. And while I am not advocating for acceptance of negative and hurtful actions and behaviors, I am advocating for love, compassion and understanding of other people.
You may not get me..... sometimes.... I don't get me. But you may also not know that I grew up in a home with pretty intense domestic abuse, major financial stress, massive instability and I lived in a state of constant anxiety for most of my childhood years.
I also grew up with wonderful, loving and generous grandparents and extended family that provided me with some of that stability, peace and love I so desperately needed. They brought balance to my chaotic life.
I was molded greatly by all of those experiences and though I am fighting the good fight to eliminate the negative outcomes..... for years they became ingrained in me and part of who I am. I learned to react in certain ways, some very negative coping mechanisms and anxiety rears it's ugly head any time I feel my life is becoming unstable or chaotic.
It took the love and compassion of others to show me where I needed God to work.... not a judgmental slap in the face.
I pray if you have felt judged..... you allow God to show you where He wants you and you are able to SHUT OUT a world that has it's own issues to deal with.
I pray if you struggle with judging .... God quickly convicts you and your behavior and shows you.... you will never win a heart for Christ..... by offering a heart full of Satan's' condemnation.
Peace and Blessings
One of the most precious benefits to giving my life to Christ was understanding what the word "free" really means.
We live in the freest country in the world. I am pretty much allowed to live as I choose, almost to a fault in the US of A. However, the freedom found in Christ does not hold a candle to the freedom of living in a free country. I am blessed to experience both, but what God has shown me recently, is I really have not experienced the freedom He longs to give me.
"For the one the Son sets free is free indeed." John 8:36
But am I? Am I truly free?
No, not even close.
I have the freedom to practice my faith for all to see.
But I can't go a day without worrying about something I can't control.
I have the freedom to walk down my street, for the most part completely safe from harm.
But I can't break free from needing the approval of man.
I have freedom to say whatever I am thinking or feeling about whomever I wish to say it about.
But I am in chains to my own emotions and intrusive thoughts.
I have freedom to go where I want, wear what I want and do what I want.
But I continue to live as a prisoner to worldly standards.
I have been given freedom..... but I am not free.
I am a prisoner sitting in a cell. Jesus flew the cell door open and is just waiting for me to step out. I venture out, slowly, a few toddler steps, but then turn around and run right back to my personal prison.
Why can't I shake these chains and run out of the cell and slam the doors behind me?
I pray this and ask this each morning. And I live in an endless pursuit to allow God to break the chains for good.
I have had seasons where I experienced this freedom, but as I mentioned, I always find myself running back to for the dark cell, even though I don't long to be there.
Freedom is not found necessarily in a country, or a town, or even in laws, rules or regulations..... true freedom is found in our head.
My mind wanders like a homeless bird. I am often a wave tossed to and fro. My mind is searching for a place to call home.
True freedom is found when my mind wanders no more, but finds it's home..... in Christ.
I pray for the day that I find THIS type of freedom. The freedom Christ died to give me. The freedom to feel joy..... always. The freedom to simply follow Christ..... and shut the cell door and leave the world behind. The freedom to let discouraging words or thoughts roll off my back and plop and be locked away in that dark cell I no longer reside in.
Oh how I pray for that day!
My God is faithful..... that day.... WILL come.
Peace and Blessings
I thought I was prepared for motherhood. I longed for nothing more than to be a wife and mommy. I worked in an infant daycare and was a nanny for 3 out of 4 years of college. I found complete joy in holding those babies and caring for the 2 precious children I nannied for. Garrick and I were married for 2 years before our first child was born. I read books, I took the classes, I had everything prepared, right down to the little diapers placed strategically in a cute little basket and another one filled with Infant Tylenol, gas drops and diaper rash cream!
I WAS READY!!!
Ummmm...... NOT! LOL
I thought I was. I really did. And, when that I held that little baby in my arms in the hospital I felt on top of the world! I had this!! Nothing could shake the joy I was feeling!!
Then.... we brought him home. Within a day or so, the new mommy adrenaline wore off. I was exhausted. I was sore. I was hormonal. Breastfeeding, the most natural thing in the world???? Yeah, not going so well. I began to feel overwhelmed. I would cry every night in the bath tub and feel massive anxiety as I though to myself.... this is never going to end. I will never sleep again. This little man is my responsibility for the next 18 years... OR MORE!
Even a few short days after my precious little man was born, Satan had me cornered.
I was not a believer yet and unfortunately, I lived very far away from my family and Garrick's. I had very little support, my husband worked 15 hour days and went back to work days after Camden was born and I was trying to find may way through this overwhelming task, all on my own.
I was devastated more at the fact that I was feeling the way I was feeling. After all, wasn't this suppose to be all smiles and cuddles? Wasn't I suppose to be frolicking through the streets pushing my stroller with joy and peace?? Wasn't I supposed to look like those diaper commercials.... gentle, peaceful and completely in love with my new calling?
I wanted that. I really did. But my emotions were tearing me to shreds and not only did Satan have the vulnerability of my hormones and exhaustion to play with, he also had an isolated, new mom that did not have the power of Christ living within her to combat his evil plan!
Satan wanted me. Badly. Why???? For a very good reason. I just finished a phenomenal book called Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. Here is an excerpt from the book that completely grabbed to my heart.....
"Satan knows that the righteousness and faith of the next generation are in the hands of parents, and particularly the moms, who interact with their children every hour of the day. Satan would love for us to think that our labor is in vain and ineffective, and that we are not adequate for the task. And yet, in every case in Revelation, overcoming is always rewarded with a great blessing."
Satan KNOWS that the most powerful influence in a child's life are his/her parents!! Parents are a HUGE target for Satan, especially if you are a parent that is home with your children day in and day out. He wants to break your powerful influence over them to become Godly leaders in this world. He wants to stop the legacy of good and take you and your children captive to do his evil will.
There is no easier way to do this, especially for an emotional woman, than to continually make her feel inadequate, not good enough, as a failure and defeated. And what better time to start than when the baby is fresh out of the womb!
Oh, how I wish I would have had someone to breathe this truth into me when I first became a mama. I wish I would have had the armor and tools to stand and combat Satan's evil work in my mind.
We so underestimate our power is a parent. Our children's hearts are molded by our very hands. The easiest way for me to understand what my children need from me, is to place myself back as their age and try to recall what I needed.
I needed lots and lots of love and grace. I was a sinner AND a child with little self control and a whole lot of impulsivity. I had emotions I did not know how to deal with and pressures from the outside world I did not know how to tune out. I sometimes, STILL don't. I needed to know I had purpose and I mattered and that God gave me talents and gifts to use to change the world. I needed lots of encouragement and affirmation, especially when my self worth was being challenged. I needed my home to be a safe haven from a sometimes cruel and scary world.
My children need these very things and if I spend day in and day out allowing Satan to make me feel I am a worthless, inadequate failure of a mother, I will have nothing to give my children but discouragement and frustration.
If I could do ANYTHING for a new mama or a mama who is struggling right now in a sea of discouragement, it would be this....
STAND! You ARE enough! God gave you these precious children because He knew you COULD do it! TRUST Him! Shut out the voices of the world and focus on giving your children what THEY need, not what the world tells you they need!
You already hold the ability..... you just have to believe it!!!!
Peace and Blessings
If I had to name ONE thing that has given me hope when all hope seems lost.....it is these soul feeding words....
"To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power within us." Ephesians 3:20
It is extremely easy to become weary. To lose hope. To succumb to the exhaustion from life's battles. To let Satan win, even when you are unaware that he is even behind the wheel.
And believe me when I say, I have been there and some days, still am.
I spend many days, almost minute by minute, asking God to guide me, help me, lead me, just take over because for my own sanity, I have to step aside.
What is so incredibly encouraging about this scripture is no matter what I ask God for, no matter what I am needing or praying for at that moment..... God.... can do MORE! So much more.... it cannot be measured! We could never see the end of His abilities. Whatever we pray for, whatever we dream of, whatever we wait in hope for....... it cannot compare to the power that rests in God's ability!
Job prayed for God to end his suffering.... God fully restored Job's life to even greater than it was before!
Hannah prayed for a child.... God blessed her with a son that went on to serve God in might ways!
Moses cried out to God..... God allowed Moses to lift up his staff, stretch out his hand and part the Red Sea!
God can and will do more than we can even ask or imagine.
The focus here is.... trust.
Do I trust him and believe in Him to do so?
I guess that remains the million dollar question.
I pray today....for a sense of trust like you have never experienced before.
Peace and Blessings
The other morning I was reading in the book of Jeremiah and I came across a scripture that prompted me to ask myself a very hard question. I read this scripture over and over and God began revealing something to me that I had never considered before.
"They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves." Jeremiah 2:5
Here is the question that went reeling through my mind over and over again..... could this scripture at all be tied to the feelings of worthlessness we struggle with? Could this scripture we tied to lack of self esteem and feeling a lack of purpose in life?
God quickly affirmed a big fat YES!
Once again, please don't hear what I am not saying. I totally understand the pressures and unrealistic expectations of this world greatly impact many people's self esteem and creates in them massive struggles with feeling worthy and purposeful, however, the biggest problem remains just that...... the world!
If I am chasing after what the world has to offer; wealth, beauty, success, perfect body and image OR even if I am placing all my energy into what appears to be worthwhile, Godly things such as; trying to fit myself into every "Christian" mold I believe I should fit in. When it is very likely God may have never called me to pursue those things.... I am simply chasing after idols, rather than God.
I am pursuing something that I believe will make me feel better about myself or look better to others, not necessarily something God has purposed for me to do.
By doing this.... it is very likely.... it will not be fulfilling and feelings of worthlessness will overtake my mind. And the worst part about this is... now... you will compound it with unnecessary guilt of failing at something or not feeling fulfillment from something that OTHER Christians are doing and finding purpose and fulfillment in!
I talk so much about purpose, because I feel so very strong about the gift in finding your God given personal purpose. It is the secret to finding joy and contentment in life even when life circumstances may create an opposite environment.
Here is an example of this in my life. Like most people, I go through dry seasons where I lack motivation and would just like to live as a giant sloth! I struggle with getting out of bed to do my quiet time and Bible study and I have had morning when I laid there too long and had no time for God.
I pursued sleep and slothiness and what I ended up with in return.... is a day of feeling stressed and lacking peace. I missed my date with God. This is a pretty big deficit! I chased after something worthless and in turn felt very worthless!
I have had other days when I have laid around way too long in the morning, on the weekends. I look at the clock and its 11:00 and I am still in my pajamas and feeling lazier than ever! I literally feel BLAH!
For me this creates major feelings or worthlessness!
Everyone is different, this may be revitalizing to you, but for me, I know God is calling me to move and meet with Him or be productive and I choose the slothy way instead and feel pretty bad for it later!
So... my challenge for everyone today is assess your feelings of purposelessness or worthlessness when you begin to struggle with them. What are you spending your time pursuing? Are you neglecting God's purposes for you and chasing after worthlessness?
This just might be a life changing epiphany for me!!!! I pray it is for you too!
Peace and Blessings
I will be drawing the winner of my giveaway tomorrow morning!! I have prayed that it is the person who needs the reminder the most.... that as long as God is within you, He will not let you fall!!!
The truth is... we all need that reminder! Probably... daily. I wish I had a necklace for all of you!
Yesterday was my birthday, so I was a little side tracked and did not do my typical marriage blog with Garrick, however, God gave me a different message to deliver that He just needed me for this week.
I want each of you to really ponder this scripture....
"God is within her, she will not fall." Psalm 46:5
It says... she WILL NOT fall. WON'T! Do you see the significance here.... if God is within you... no matter how far you stand at the edge of that cliff... YOU CANNOT and WILL NOT FALL!
There is NO greater safety net in this world! No person, no addiction, no idol or material possession can do this for you! In fact, those items may be the very things pushing you toward the edge!
How does this apply to marriage?? I can tell you... first hand. You may be pushed to the absolute breaking point in your marriage. You may be crushed, spent and exhausted beyond what you believe is recoverable.
You will never stand at an edge of a cliff without God fully equipped and ready to give you wings to fly!
Knowing this truth.... can make you the hero in saving your marriage. It can give you the strength to keep going and this strength will be visible for all to see. Your spouse, most importantly, will see God's strength resting on you.... a strength they can now see is a live and real. A strength they may very well want to seek for themselves.
There is simply no way I could have done this without God. Period.
I pray..... you seek God.... and get your wings... today!!!
Peace and Blessings
I am super excited!!! This is by far, going to be my favorite giveaway to date!
As I have mentioned, many, many times before, one of the most precious gifts God has given me (aside from salvation) is opening my eyes to the strength that lives within me as I walk with Him.
For most of my life, I saw myself as a "weaker" person; an over reactor and a stress mess! I have never been very good at handling stressful situations and when God sent the "perfect" storm of multiple stress inducing circumstances, I often crumbled under the pressure. I adapted to unhealthy coping mechanisms to try and gain back control such as Anorexia.
Well, as you probably already guessed, that never worked and only aided in making the situation much worse! The bottom line is... I AM NOT IN CONTROL! I never have been. I never will be. And you know what????
I am totally GOOD with that. Why I would think I could handle my life better than my Creator who can do significantly more than we can ever ask or imagine, is beyond me. For most of my life, I really did not know God, so that was the major problem. But even when I accepted Christ, I still struggled and often still do, with wanting that control back. Not trusting in God's ultimate plan and completely dismissing the fact that His strength.... is now my strength!
"The Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you." Romans 8:11
I never, ever (nor God) want you to forget, the strength that you hold if you are walking hand and in hand with the Lord. You are MORE than a conqueror!!! You are a WARRIOR! You will NOT fall.
SO.... without further ado.... here is the awesome giveaway!!
The winner of this giveaway will be given this beautiful reminder to wear around her neck, of the strength that lives within her to conquer each days to do list, disasters and challenges!
There is not a day that you will ever walk alone!
God is within you... you will not fall.
"God is within her, she will not fall. God will help her at the break of day." Psalm 46:5
If there is one thing I long to do through this blog, it is to empower women (and men) in the way God desires them to be empowered... and that is remembering who they are in Christ! The strength they acquire when they walk with Him and the mountains they can conquer with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead living within them!
Lack of trust and disbelief are our biggest barriers to victory.
I too, struggle with these things.
May this necklace, empower you, every time you wear it, see it and feel it hanging around your neck!!
Peace and Blessings
When I first gave my life to Christ, nearly 14 years ago, one of the first things God gave me a desire to do was study women.
I longed to know what God's purpose was for me, as a woman. When He created Eve out of Adam's rib, what was the ultimate goal of His design.
As I read and studied I learned that God created women with many meaningful qualities. His first goal was to create a helper and companion for Adam. He recognized that it was not good for Adam to be alone and that he needed a partner in life. I have often joked as to why that was the ONLY thing that God stepped back and did not identify as "good." It was not good that man should be alone and if you have ever walked into a bachelor pad this will become painfully obvious!! LOL
Yes, Yes, I know there are some men that are very neat and tidy, but for the most part, I have not personally found that to be the case.
God gave women the gift of making a house a home and caring for the things, man wasn't necessarily given the desire to care for. This is one of the reasons there will probably always be the battle of the sexes when it comes to house work. Women see EVERYTHING that needs to be done... all the time and men can walk past the overflowing garbage can and laundry basket and not think twice.
God also gave women the heart to nurture and care for little ones. He created in them a maternal desire and instinct that men do not have. This is why a woman can strategically pack a diaper bag and fill it with every possible need the baby could have, while a man may very likely walk out the door without a diaper bag at all, maybe even without the baby!! LOL
This sometimes comes across as negligence to women, but honestly, it all goes back to the difference in the way God created man and woman.
So yes, I learned that women were given hearts to care for a home and her husband and a maternal instinct to love and care for her children. He desires for women to be modest, meek and gentle. These are extremely wonderful qualities and have the power to change the world, however, I have learned something life changing for me in my Understanding Purpose study. And that is.... women, though created to be gentle were also created to be warriors!!
When God designs Eve, He states that He was creating a "helper" for Adam. What my study explained was what the word "helper" actually encompasses.
If you take the word "helper" and root it back to the Hebrew meaning, it actually is the word ezer (pronounced azor) it used in the same context as God as the helper to Israel and the call for military aid!
Photo credit: Huffington Post
So, in laymen's terms, the word "helper" used to describe the creation of woman actually means STRONG HELPER or WARRIOR!
You were created to be a WARRIOR!! God created you with the strength and courage to fight every battle He may place in front of you in your lifetime!
Most women I know ARE WARRIORS! Though created for specific purposes, women that are left to fill both a man and woman's shoes are able to successfully accomplish this! They will fight to protect their children and that same mama will lay in bed and snuggle with them when they have a bad dream!
Look at your grandmother's hands.... those are the hands of a beautiful warrior!! Each wrinkle a symbol of triumph over a struggle she may have thought she would never win!
When a man is unable for whatever reason, whether it be intentional or not, to fulfill his leadership role in the home, women are made to step up and fill those massive shoes, even though she may be dying inside, she will do it until God sends reprieve!
Though God desires for women to be quiet and gentle, He designed them to fight the good fight when those are cards she is dealt!
Ladies... don't EVER underestimate your purpose and abilities in life! God gave you EVERYTHING you would need to fulfill every purpose He gives you! Satan wants to convince you otherwise and unfortunately, we fall prey to his lies way too often!
There may be days...you may feel like you are going to crumble into a million little pieces... but I assure you.... God made you a WARRIOR!!
You can slip on those heals, apply that lipstick and on the way out the door, grab your sword and shield..... you.... are God's beautiful warrior!
Peace and Blessings
"This is God's idea. He made Himself the pattern. He chose us to be like Him and to represent Him in this world. This is the first and most important fact a woman can know about herself and her purpose. It ought to take our breath away."
This is a quote from the study I am currently doing, Understanding Purpose, and when read the above quote it gave me goosebumps. I have been doing Bible studies for many years now, but for some reason, this words did exactly as the author quoted above.... they took my breath away.
Imagine this....if you are not a seamstress... just pretend for vision's sake.... You see a beautiful dress in the window of a store. Perhaps you desire it or perhaps your daughter would love to wear it to her next dance. It is everything you would ever want in a dress... the cut... the shape... all the little details and accents. You walk into the store and look at the price and your heart sinks as you realize there is no way you can afford this dress. However, you are firmly convinced you could make it yourself for half the price!!
You head to the fabric store and find an identical pattern. You pick out the perfect fabric and accessories and head home to get to work! You carefully stitch and pay close attention to each little detail. Once the dress is complete.... you compare it in delight to the photo you took of the model dress from the store and you are awe struck as they appear nearly identical. Yes, there are some differences for sure, as the your dress could never completely be like the model dress as that one is the original. There are some vague stitch differences and variations in the way some of the accessories were applied, but over all, they are extremely similar and you are ecstatic with the finished product!
That is US my friends!!! God is the pattern!! He is the original, but we were patterned exactly after Him!! We were made to hold and contain all of His glorious attributes; kindness, creativity, patience, exceeding love, generosity, selflessness... you know I could go on and on and on!
Truly... take a moment and let this soak in .... You were made to resemble and represent the living God.
You weren't thrown together to just survive this often brutal world... you were MADE to represent God in all you do.
There could absolutely, hands down, inequivocolly be no greater purpose we could be assigned!!
This is great news my friends!! This mean that you may have to work it at and fight your flesh big time, but you have the ability to attain every attribute we share with God.
Here are some questions to ponder from the study.
1. How does this change your view of yourself? The value of your life and the significance of your actions? Your relationships with others? Can you imagine a higher calling?
2. How should our identity as God's image bearers transform how we value, respect and treat one another? How does this cast a vision of what we are to become?
3. What do you need most to help you reflect Him more authentically?
Read the following scriptures to help you learn more about the attributes God longs for us to reflect;
- Leviticus 19:2
- John 17:21
- Ephesians 4:23
- 1 John 4:19
You are not just a blob of flesh and bone.... you were carefully knit together and patterned after the Almighty God!!!!
I pray that this realization begins changing your view of yourself, your abilities, your purpose and your calling in this lost and crazy world!!
Peace and Blessings
1. Kind words
2. A hug
3. A smooch! (depending on who it is!! LOL)
4.A sweet note
5 A sweet treat
6. A homemade gift
7. A phone call
8. A kind text
9. A hot coffee delivered!
10. A smile!
11. An encouraging word (especially when you can see someone desperately needs it!)
12. A surprise gift certificate!
13. Sneak in and clean their house!
14. Make someone laugh!!
15. Forgive someone!!
16. Bring Valentine's to a Nursing Home!
17. Pay for a random person's lunch, coffee or dinner!
18. Visit someone!
19.Leave a message on their car!
20. Tell someone how God used them in your life!
21. Show appreciation for someone who rarely receives it!
22. Show love to someone a little hard to love!
23. Hand out Hershey's kisses to random people!
24. Invite someone to lunch!
25. Deliver Valentine's at work!
26. Dedicate a song to someone on the radio!
27. Pray for God to continue to soften your heart!
28. Pray for others!
29. Put the needs of others in front of your own.
30. Thank someone... you have needed to thank for a long time!
Love... never fails.
Peace and Blessings